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How Arsenal will line up next season: the 4 key tactics that we now know.

by Tony Attwood

Four things are going to be apparent in the team next season:

First, a continuation of the five at the back that was so extraordinarily effective last season, although with the option of suddenly changing, if that seems a good idea.

Second, three creative forwards at the front.

Third the Xhaka – Ramsey axis in between.

Fourth, a much extended role for the backup squad including the under 21s.

  • Part One: The Five At the Back

This represented an incredible change in fortune at the end of last season with a run of matches that turned everything around.  I know I’ve published this set of results before, but it is quite clear that most of the newspaper industry and their bloggettas were not looking, as they are still talking about how the whole team needs rebuilding…

Date Match Res Score Competition
17 Apr 2017 Middlesbrough v Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
23 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-1 FA Cup
26 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Leicester City W 1-0 Premier League
30 Apr 2017 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-0 Premier League
07 May 2017 Arsenal v Manchester United W 2-0 Premier League
10 May 2017 Southampton v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
13 May 2017 Stoke City v Arsenal W 1-4 Premier League
16 May 2017 Arsenal v Sunderland W 2-0 Premier League
21 May 2017 Arsenal v Everton W 3-1 Premier League
27 May 2017 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 FA Cup

For the wing backs we have Saed Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal on the left and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin on the right.

In the centre we can have Holding, Koscielny, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Gabriel and Elneny.

Monreal can also move into centre-back and Oxlade-Chamberlain can play in midfield.

That set of players should mean we have enough to cover for injuries and suspensions that stop anyone playing a match, and also injuries and knocks sustained during a game.

  • Part Two: The Forward Line

At the other end the question mark surrounds Giroud, but Mr Wenger has said: “We extended his contract last season. Our resolution is clear because we extended his contract. He’s a great value to the squad.”

That means we have Alexis, Giroud, Lacazette, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck, and indeed once again Oxlade-Chamberlain.   Choose the three you want.

  • Part Three: the midfield

We’ve got five at the back, three at the front, and one in goal, which means two more to find, and the obvious pairing is Xhaka and Ramsey.   It seems the stories about Santi not coming back were just stories and so he will be pushing for one of those two places as well.

Jeff Reine Adelaide is now classified by the club as a midfielder, Jack Wilshere is still on the books, and Coquelin is still there.  And hang on a minute, we’ve not found a place for Ozil.

What that in turn suggests is that Ozil might be taking up one of the three forward positions, sometimes on the left wing sometimes dropping behind a front two in order to feed the balls through between the Xhaka-Ramsey combination and the front two.

In all, we have got a lot of players to fit in.  Even with the sad news of Joel Campbell’s injury, we’re not in any way short of players of quality.

  • Part Four: The Under 21s, or maybe under 23s.

There are a number of youngsters who have done very well indeed so far in the pre-season, plus a number of more senior players who are going to be reduced to time on the bench.   Elneny, Wilshere, Welbeck, Theo, Coquelin, Gabriel … they might be needed if injuries demand, but the rest of the time…

And then Maitland Niles, Bielik, Bramall, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah – not to mention the second and third choice keepers.  They all need time playing.

The group stage of the Europa has groups of four teams exactly as the Champs League does, giving each team six games, and then with teams dropping out of the Champs League there are 32 teams left making a total of another five possible games.  That is 11 games to play for the teams that make it to the final.

In the League Cup we have potentially another five games.

Now of course anything can happen, and we could get knocked out early on in either or both competition, but potentially we have 16 games to give experience to some of the youngsters, combined with some older hands who are not getting that many league games.  Which should be an encouragement for them, and indeed for others coming through.

And if that were not enough, although we treat the FA Cup more seriously, there can be places for youngsters there – depending on the draw.

One good thing in all this – there is no early Champs League knock out game to play, so everyone will have time to settle down.

I think this is going to give a lot of encouragement to youngsters to stay with the Arsenal and not go seeking their fortunes elsewhere.

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9 comments to How Arsenal will line up next season: the 4 key tactics that we now know.

  • Charlie

    Giroud will be needed against smaller that park the bus. He can hold and be there for crosses. Very important.

  • mjc

    Lovely article Tony, and it does all look positive. But maybe a maths error…?

    “The group stage of the Europa has groups of four teams exactly as the Champs League does, giving each team six games, and then with teams dropping out of the Champs League there are 32 teams left making a total of another five possible games. That is 11 games to play for the teams that make it to the final.”

    Not sure if this is correct. By my reckoning:
    Group Stage: 6 games
    Round of 32: 2 games
    Round of 16: 2 games
    QFs: 2 games
    SFs: 2 games
    Final: 1 game
    TOTAL: 15 games

  • luscious lisa

    A point re numbers. Chelsea won the title at a bit of a canter with less than a full complement of 25 players, i believe. And it’s often seemed to me that in life less is more, as someone said. In a club like Arsenal, with great squad depth, ‘nearly men’ might do more harm than good, i.e. you are better off with no-one than a not quite good enough one. If you have a nearly good enough one, the temptation is to persevere, because you know that ‘on their day’ they can do the business, and might become the real deal they always promised to be. But if the nearly man is not an option, then you can change formation, move someone around (e.g as with Elneny now), or, preferably, trust that an up and comer will step up to the mark.
    If that is right, then Arsenal would be better off clearing out most or all the nearly men, who will remain nameless, but there are quite a few of them it seems to me.

  • Leon

    It’s a leap of faith to include Elneny in central defence following two not particularly positive games against Div. One quality opposition. There’s five more games before the season starts properly, so lets see how he does against top forwards.
    IMO he doesn’t have it in him to be a central defender. Positionally he’s OK & not a bad header of the ball, but gets passed too easily by quick forwards. I think we can manage the two games without Kos with the players available instead of draughting in a rookie defender.
    I don’t wish Elneny bad games, but would prefer he had them in the next few unimportant matches rather than against Leicester or Stoke.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I believe Elneny playing as a CB can do very well against Leicester and Stoke in our first two Premier League games next season. But if he proves he has the centreback mettle that will make him to do very well in these our two opening PL games after completing his development as a CB during the 4 remaining Arsenal pre season games.

    None the least, it has baffled me why AS Monaco have not shown any respect for Le Prof who in the past had guided the club to numerous successes as their manager? The Monaco hierarchies have continued to stall in Arsenal bid to sign their midfielder Thomas Lemar during this current summer window, even at a reported big sum of £45m plus another £5m which brings the total money offered to them by Arsenal to have Lemar signed. While Monaco have continued to sell some of their players to Arsenal rival clubs of, Man City and Chelsea this summer, the opposite is the case as the’ve been denying Arsenal biddings to sign Lemar despite the midfielder wish and acceptance to come to Arsenal according to reports.

    Why is this Monaco refusal to oblige Le Prof with Lemar? They hate Arsenal and won’t to see them progress, or what is their problem?

  • omgarsenal

    I cannot agree with your assessment luscious Lisa for the following reasons;

    * remember we are incredibly prone to injuries according to everyone and that means having more than sufficient strength in depth to replace the players sidelined for weeks or months due to serious foul play or violent attacks from their opponents, all sanctioned by the PIGMOB’s finest.

    * I do not see many ¨nearly men¨as you so cutely put it. There are older players (Per, Giroud,Nacho,and Koscielny, Cech, Santi etc.) who will need more time off after a demanding week (we play 2 games a week almost up until Xmas). There are youth players needing more game time to develop, but their quality is unquestioned. There are less senior veterans who are starting to show their worth (the Ox,Gabriel, ElNeny, Welbeck, Ramsey, Xhaka, etc.) and there are extras like Walcott, Wilshere, Coquelin, Ospina, Martinez…..all who can be relied on to make a difference when and if they are needed.

    * Wenger,in his dotage, is beginning to learn how to change his lineups, as Tony’s article highlights, and this means using a full squad of 25 + youth players to carry us through a season.He has never had more in-depth options and when we have trouble fitting in Ozil, it tells you we are a well-balanced team. It will be up to the EPL butchers and the PIGMOB to destabilize this team, but hold NO illusions, they will do their best as in years past, to derail any hopes we may have of winning the EPL.

  • para

    Good squad depth, better than last 10 seasons.

    Yes, they will try to injure our players to keep them out at vital times, so we also need to be aware of that, and cause much ruckus at any tackles and more importantly, ref decisions this season.

    Create a song for the ref too, to remind them why they are there.

    //
    I have noticed a few things about Arsenal’s last game coverage that i never saw before. I won’t mention them now, i need to see if that was a one off, or a regular thing and i just did not notice it before.

    Suffice to say, i will monitor the amount of anti that Arsenal gets this season.

  • Lanz

    Let us remember that Kolo Toure did not start with us as a CB. Young Bielik came to us as a DM. Developments happen in football especially with AW. Even RvP did not believe he could play No 9. More recently, the so-called pundits went on about Alexis being a winger. We all know the rest of the story. Hope Elneny turns out a huge discoveey.

  • Oldham Gooner

    I have a soft spot for Egypt after studying there and having a jolly good time but I never could choose between Al Ahly and Zamalek.

    I think Elneny can be like a new signing (I believe we’re allowed to say this on blogs only) and hope he pushes on.

    Also wishing Ahmed Hegazi luck at West Brom, hopefully he does well, stays injury free and earns a transfer to a better club and manager 😁

    Come on you Gunners (and Pharoahs)!

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